Night Shift Survival Guide

How great—a blog to help people find joy and reward in their jobs as they perform them better and rise through the company ranks. So many people struggle to find their balance in today’s competitive workplace and they fear that they will be replaced if they don’t keep up. New faces are appearing all the time. Think of the annual spate of new grads sending out those fancy digital resumes. The best the old employees can do is keep their noses to the grindstone and make sure management sees the continual effort. Slacking on the job impresses no one. Pushing yourself too hard means burnout.

It is important to keep an even pace, learn new skills, and apply them at will. Sometimes succeeding on the job means being creative and innovative and bring new products and services to market that find their niche. It also means being practical, quick on your feet, and fast at finding solutions to old problems. Every job must be evaluated to determine its motivation and performance standards. A lot of self-awareness comes into the picture. You can criticize yourself too much and be your own worst enemy or you can be your own best pal. Look, learn and listen. How do you see others moving ahead? Being observant is often the key to flawless progress and ultimate promotions.

I was counseling a night shift employee some time ago who felt that his work was out of the mainstream and that he had no role models to make innovations on the job. Being steady and reliable came to me as the core of his career. Night work can be boring but you can make it fun. You can create your own interests to break up the time. This employee took what I said at heart. He created a web site that helped people pick the right large LED flashlight here: http://www.flashlightpro.net/best-tactical-led-flashlights/. He felt proud of his achievement and it was something he could share with others in similar situations. No more idle time on work-wasting websites. He wanted to develop more apps that could be seen less than amusement and more productive. One would clock his rounds to see what was the average time.

He could take photos of strategic places and compare them to see if something was up. He felt that he had more than one pair of eyes due to the app. He never felt guilty when he used an app that was a bit more fun. Most of the time he was the picture of concentration and focus. So, you can see that there is reward in every job, including night shift work whether it be outside or inside a plant or on the assembly line. You can make a job what you will of it if you bother to sit up and take notice. Focus your creative side on making the job interesting, fun, and productive.

Plumbing Jobs 101

People talk about “plumber’s rates,” bemoaning the fact that they make far less. Is that true? Even if it were, would you want this job. It is lucrative, especially if you are self-employed, and your time is your own. So let’s look at a day in the life of a plumber at work.

Seven: up and at ‘em early at six, you are ready to roll. Your first appointment beckons. The man works so you have to get there “on the nose” according to his phone message, “otherwise I am gone.”

Eight: one job under your belt you are in the car stuck on the freeway to your next appointment. You call to warn them courteously that you will be five minutes late. They are irate and screaming that their kitchen sink is overflowing onto the floor and they are hysterical.

Nine: you fixed a faulty faucet, made a few quick bucks and are at the front door of a mansion. Looks good. You go in to find that the lady of the house is disdainful of your dirty shoes. You remove them and proceed to fix the broken toilet. The lady has the housekeeper keep an eye on you lest you touch anything at all.

Ten: a quick cup of coffee and you are on the road again stuck in traffic. You call the irate customer so warn them you will be a teeny bit late, but they say “get here now.”

Eleven: the jobs are easy enough but your nerves are getting frayed. The next job is a hot water heater on the fritz. You check out the connections and find out that the kids have pulled the plug on their high end tankless water heater as a prank. The homeowner refuses to pay for “no work” and circumvents your explanation of a house call.

Noon: you need another cup of coffee and an aspirin. No time for lunch.

One: You are on the road again stuck in traffic but this time you will arrive as scheduled. The client is not particularly appreciative. You fix another broken hot water heater. What? Is there an epidemic going on?

Two: Thank goodness the next job is in the neighborhood. Maybe this time you can be efficient and make some real money. You unplug a stopped up toilet. Anyone could do it with a plunger. The owner says she will pay only half the house call fee.

Three: you need another aspirin and a nap. But no time. You are on the road again and stuck in traffic. You do not make the appointment and get yelled at for five minutes straight.

Four: the ten o’clock appointment called to say she forgot to tell you about another leak so you hightail it to get there, hoping to score some bucks.

Five: you finish the four o’clock call and check your messages. Yup, the usual “emergency” and you agree to get back on that nasty clogged like a bad drain pipe freeway.

Six: you arrive at your final appointment and pretend to be in a good mood. You are not. But the lady of the house is attractive so you don’t mind the job, whatever it is.

How To Become A Chef

I just saw a great indie movie, Chef, written by and starring Jon Favreau (known for Swingers, the Break Up, Very Bad Things, and more). I recommend it highly. This one has got to be among his best and also features a stunning Sophia Vergara and a happy-go-lucky John Leguizamo who pines to be a sous-chef. Bobby Cannivale makes a good foil for Favreau in the beginning whose inability to follow his heart serves as a great contrast and object lesson to us all about compromise and cowardice.

If you can get a wife like Sophia in all her Latina beauty, by all means become a chef – at once! They are divorced, but not for long in this fairy tale about cooking what you really love and finding your way back to your true unrealized ambition. They have a ten-year-old son who has been neglected by the overworked dad who has to submit to the dictates of his grumpy boss played by Dustin Hoffman. The chef is restricted in his creativity and ultimately receives a very poor critical rating from the top restaurant reviewer in L.A. He is more than devastated. A video of their fight goes viral making Favreau a national hero and celebrity. Who doesn’t identify with a free spirit like him and a man of conviction.

When Favreau loses his job after walking out angrily one night, he is forced to face his real work needs and goes on the road in a refurbished food truck with sous-chef (Leguizamo) who bolts from Hoffman’s restaurant the first chance he gets. He knows his friend the chef is the best, especially in the area of authentic Cubano cooking. After a stint in Miami to get the truck shiny clean, loaded up with all the kitchen appliances you’d ever need and newly painted, the two head back to California with the son in tow. They adapt the food to each location including New Orleans (beignets and po-boys) and Texas (barbecue what else). Twitter and Facebook bring legions to each stop who wait patiently in line for the culinary treasures. Here is a big message about publicity, success, and the role of social media.

The boy learns to cook and acquires great lessons in life about self-reliance, the importance of quality work, and most of all camaraderie. Many humorous scenes populate the winning film. It is a joyous road buddy road movie of the best kind with superb close ups of gorgeous food (and Sophia) that you can practically smell and taste as you sit rapt in the movie theater. You may never have heard of some of tis exotic food, but you are dying for some. (By the way, Scarlett Johansson as the restaurant hostess is not chopped liver!)

They all end up back home with pride and glory and end up opening a restaurant with co-partner food critic (played amiably by Oliver Platt). It is a very happy ending to a sweet morality tale about loving your work, finding yourself at last, and learning to survive on your own terms.

The Office Outing

If you have any brains, you will comply with company or management requests. It goes with the territory for most employees and accommodation works better than retaliation. My boss got the idea in a sudden frenzy of creativity to bond the staff by having a corporate “sensitivity” outing. For most of us, feelings are private and not to be shared with colleagues, especially superiors. In other words, we loathe such events.

OK. I know they are ostensibly good for us to enhance cooperation and productivity. I wish my boss had another way, however. The day loomed in the too near future. An overnight in the outdoors—a glorified camping trip—was the order of the day. We all got out the worn and tired old bed rolls and Coleman stoves. It had been too long for this kind of boyhood event. Grudgingly we boarded a group bus and headed into the wilderness, such as it is.

A bit corny at first, it became more fun and relaxing after a few beers and a round of campfire songs. Personal stories, then a lecture about bonding, were highlights of the evening. The boss was in rare form as he recounted similar trips and the positive results obtained. We understood his perspective and went along for the ride like a good cavalry. Why not? The simple food prepared fresh over the fire was good and the moods were even better. I think we had to admit the success as we laughed a lot and learned quite a bit as intended.

The program was an eye-opener. We talked freely the next morning, bright and early, sipping fresh coffee and devouring cinnamon buns. We had an hour to roam about and take an introspective walk if we wanted, or we could just stay at camp and chat a bit more. We reveled in a new kind of connection.

Before boarding the bus to return to civilization, the boss handed out a special business backpack like this to each employee emblazoned with the company name and logo. Also embroidered on the surface was the individual’s name and the date. It would commemorate the experience and become a reminder as we used the bag from time to time in our daily lives. And we did. We liked the spirit imbued as we loaded it with gym gear or weekend get-away stuff. Some of us just used it for storage. No matter. It was our special common bond and a symbol of friendship and belonging. How apt a gift from what turned out to be a “sensitive” guy in the best sense. There was nothing weird about the event or the aftermath and we actually looked forward to future trips. Somehow, we knew the first time was to be the best in memory and we treasured it as a revelation and insight into ourselves and others. We had never had the occasion to get outside of our own heads and learn to “hear” others. We never understood the meaning of adapting to personality differences and learning tolerance. We were on a mental high.

New Opportunities & Technologies in Plumbing

Would you like to look for a plumber or perhaps a renovator to accomplish the job and set everything together properly or would you like to undertake shower installation on your own? If installing a shower on your own, you will need to make certain that you simply do the job correctly, or it can result in further expenses down the road.

For example, there are so many reasons why people decide to install a shower massager. Primarily, various settings on water flow can be economical when it comes to the water consumption. Secondly, if the shower massager comes with a hose attachment, it will be simpler to shower and to give your kids a bath. And the last but not the least, the massage given by this shower massager will certainly become the main reason of using this fixture.

Shower massagers are designed and made to be very therapeutic. Whether you are tired or need to relax after long business hours, you will enjoy this massage very much. You will probably feel like a million bucks after the massage. This kind of kit does not take long to install, 30 minutes will do just fine.

Modern bathrooms come with modern equipment, and they are breathtaking. By each day, we are confronted with new technology; that does not take long to install. Shower panels and shower kits in modern bathrooms nowadays can be installed very fast and easily. Technology is evolving fast, and plumbing is no exception.

Without plumbing, modern life would be unthinkable. There are different ways to perform plumbing, and there is simply no proven combination that will be eternal. Consult with a plumber before starting any work.

Plumbing is the most important job when it comes to adaptation of a bathroom. Once you set up your plumbing installation, there is no way back, well at least without major damage and more expenses. That is why it is essential to choose a solid plumber with sufficient experience and knowledge. Make sure to get a guarantee. Nowadays technology allows plumbers to finish the work in a more efficient way and with lesser costs. A plumber can install any shower in your bathroom.

There is a variety of shower equipment available on the market. You can have a rain shower installed with a shower head of your choice. Some of the best rain showers can make a mist, which by itself is a great sensation, and you will feel like a million bucks. The size of your bathroom is also an important factor to be considered. If you have a smaller room, you should consult with your plumber first. Because, he will know how to adapt the plumbing installation in a way that it will correspond to your needs and desires. The breakthrough of new technologies in any business always has a vast impact on the work performance, because with the help of new and arising technologies people have the ability to perform a better job in a much faster way. That goes for any business; plumbing is no exception.

Fireplace Bliss

I have been asked about odd ball jobs for people who are sick and tired of the same old corporate ladder. They want off and now. Crafts people are always in demand so I thought about a friend of mine who builds fireplaces for a living. He is been doing pretty well and is in high demand, so you might give this some thought if you are so inclined.

Every home, great or small, has to have one or more of these essential items. While they can be practical for generating heat, they are for residential chic and good looks. Besides, you can place nice baskets around them filled with pinecones whatever you like. When you read an ad for a home for sale, it tells you right there about their status: where they are, what kind, and how many. It’s a draw even if you live in Arizona.

My friend makes high end versions with expensive stone or tile trim and lots of rich marble in front of a well-chosen fire screen – these are definitely some of the Finest Fires you’ve ever seen. A choice of gas logs or the real thing is an option. Many people want to have both so they can turn it on in warm weather. He is creative with the designs and quite original, depending upon the owner’s taste. He can fashion something old world as well as something slick and modern. It’s all about materials. Sizes are fairly uniform in middle class neighborhoods while mansions can accommodate much larger hearths. Colors are muted and earthy but he has done Dutch blue and white tile, colorful orange and yellow Mexican tile, and Moroccan greens and reds. You can have a blast from the past or a harbinger of the future—you name it and he can do it.

I would say he is a real designer, self-taught, and a top-tier tradesman. He used to work with bathroom and kitchen tile and then got tired of all the demand for subtle gray or black granite. He can use more ingenious substances in a fireplace. He has also been featured in local magazines and has become the go-to man for custom fireplace installation.

His challenge is to design a fireplace in an older home with no pre-existing unit or preparation. People want the old-fashioned chimney up there on the roof to top their new invention. They usually have to settle for a free-standing corner model or a wall-mount style in many cases. This is a compromise but you still get the flames in winter and the illusion of a warm cozy home in the summer. What you don’t want is a flat-screen TV with a loop of a burning fire. This is the poor man’s concession, and I for one wouldn’t bother.

So the message here is to be imaginative about jobs when you are sitting in your cubicle at work and envisioning a new, freer, less stressful you. If you don’t do something right away, it probably isn’t meant to be. But some of you will find the way to enter a more rewarding job realm where your ingenuity and inventiveness will take a front seat.

What Does It Take To Become a Plumber?

plumbing-questionsPlumbers might be known more for the way their pants slide down than anything else, but they can earn a solid wage and have a good quality of life. It takes some work to become a fully recognized plumber, however, so the decision to become one should be made as soon as possible. If you’ve got good troubleshooting skills and have the ability to work with your hands in tight spaces that will likely get you filthy by the end of the day, then you might enjoy this job as your career.

How Do You Get Started?

Every community has different standards that must be met, so the first step is to look at local plumbing requirements that are dictated by law. In general, however, you’ll need to meet these specific requirements in all circumstances.

  • Grade 12 proficiency. You don’t necessarily need to hold a high school diploma, but you do need to be able to prove that you have the knowledge equivalency of one. There are testing locations in most communities that can assist with this process, a GED program, and other local options to pursue that will document or certify that you have this foundation of knowledge.
  • Plumbing classes. You don’t need to get a 4 year degree in plumbing from a college, but unless you’ve grown up in a family of plumbers, you’ll likely need some technical courses to develop some of the basic skills you’re going to need like installing a kitchen faucet. Some locations require certification from a school to enter the next phase of the training program.
  • An apprenticeship program. The third step in this process is the most important one. A vast majority of plumbers are unionized and will provide you with on-the-job training that will further your skills. The programs are generally 4 or 5 years in length and require a minimum amount of working time to qualify for moving on. Some areas require a 7 year apprenticeship before certifying an individual as a journeyman plumber.
  • Become a journeyman. You’ll need a signed document from the master plumber who trained you that you’re ready to take the exam to become a journeyman. This exam is administrated by your local governing officials and will cover all of the needed skills required in order to fix a plumbing issue.

There are a number of sample tests, study guides, and other preparation materials that will cover everything from preparing kitchen faucet reviews to new construction installation to help you ace the real exam!

Next Stop: Becoming a Master Plumber!

Once you’ve passed your journeyman test, most communities will allow you to work independently and even be self-employed if you wish. Over time, you’ll continue to gain experience in the field and you’ll be required to take some ongoing training in the classroom over the years as well. Once you meet your local community standards, you’ll qualify for taking a master plumber’s exam that is also administrated by your local governing body.

As a master plumber, you’ll then be responsible for training new apprentices and be able to command higher pay rates. The entire process generally takes a decade to reach this point, so it isn’t a small commitment to become a plumber. It’s a dirty, messy job that gets into the pipes, drains, and faucets that are in a home, in the structure of the home, and even under the home. It’s also a highly rewarding job because you’re helping people every day. Are you ready to see if it is the right choice for you?

Working as a podiatrist

Podiatrists comprise a relatively small group of physicians situated in the vast and complex field of modern day medicine. With only 18 000 licensed podiatric physicians in the United States, those working as doctors within the field ultimately make up an elite group responsible for preventing, diagnosing and treating illnesses and disorders pertaining to the lower structures of the leg. Although small, podiatry offers physicians who practice it with a substantial amount of options with respect to specialization.

There is a relatively large array of positions within the field including podiatric vascular specialists, gerontological podiatrists, podiatric diabetologists and those who specialize in high risk wound care, forensic podiatry and sports medicine. Because of the wide range of their education and training, DPMs (Doctors of Podiatric Medicine) have the authority to provide treatment by prescribing medications, recommending various types of therapy as part of a comprehensive care plan and even performing surgery.

As specialists, podiatrists are licensed to provide treatment for foot and leg ailments concerning bone, ligaments, tissue and muscle pathologies including, but not limited to, skin and nail afflictions, nerve damage, arthritis and degenerative foot and ankle disorders. In addition, because many serious illnesses initially present with symptoms in the lower extremities such as heart and kidney disease as well diabetes, podiatrists receive comprehensive, continuous training and education which enables them to handle the broad scope of their duties.

DPMs provide care and treatment for relatively minor ailments as well with common conditions such as foot and toenail fungus being one of their responsibilities as well. Although minor, they can cause severe and debilitating pain for those suffering with them and DPMs will often use one or a combination of treatment options on their patients.

A podiatrist can treat toenail and foot fungus sufferers by prescribing either topical or oral anti-fungal medication such as terbinafine, clotrimazole or fluconazole. There are several different treatments for toenail fungus, with varying levels of effectiveness and side effects. The oral medications are more commonly used as they have success rates ranging from 48% to 76% whereas topical ointments only effectively treat toe and foot fungi less than 10% of the time. However podiatrists have found that topical medications are more effective once a debridement procedure had been conducted beforehand which involves the trimming or removal of the dying nail.

A podiatrists’ formal education is typically on par with that of other specialists – they are required to obtain a bachelor’s degree and successfully complete podiatric medical school in addition to a 3 year residency in order to receive a license to practice. In the US, they can be board certified by meeting stringent requirements including the completion of a clinical and writing an examination.

After graduation, podiatrists have the option to either work in a practice or a health care facility such as a chronic care hospital and rehabilitation centre. DPMs are also employed in sectors that are not generally health care related such as the military and the sports department of post-secondary institutions. With respect to their salaries, a podiatrist’s gross income can range from between $ 60, 000 to over $ 187, 000 per annum with the median being $116 000 per year.

A day in the life of a Termite Inspector

Okay, the phone call comes in from a homeowner – I think we have termites. The homeowners have identified a pile of termite feces or “frass,” around their foundation, fearing that these very damaging insects have burrowed underneath their home of wood. Wood is not the only material that termites can eat through, they can eat through plaster, metal siding, foam, plastic, and thin sheets of lead.

Training and experience has taught termite inspectors that subterranean termites are the most common insect found in the United States. They enjoy damp, moist, dark places, which is why southeastern and west coast states have a higher incidence of this insect. In addition to the subterranean termite, other species include the “dry-wood” termite and the “damp-wood” termite.

Termites can not be treated by homeowners alone, it takes a trained professional to correctly detect the signs of termites – these are trained people who knows their habits, their lifestyle, and their vulnerabilities. As such, if you enjoy meeting people and you don’t mind tight crawl-in spaces, then a termite inspector might be of interest to you, especially if you own your business. Training to become a termite inspector is not difficult and an expensive college degree is not needed. If you have a high school degree, you can make between $35,000 to $52,000 a year, depending on the type of clients that you obtain.

People who wish to become termite inspectors can begin by taking a termite certification course online and in a matter of just a few weeks, about three months, you can take a state certification test that involves their knowledge of pest inspection, pest control techniques, managing damage to buildings, and how to apply pesticides. They must also become familiar with local laws regarding termite treatments, safety, and chemical pesticides. Then the excitement and reward of starting your own self-employment career and setting your own hours begins. Going into the termite treatment business will earn you some very good money because the cost of termite treatments can be as high as $2,000 and as low as $400. The price of termite inspection involves the square footage of the building, the type of treatment used, and if drilling is involved.

The types of termite treatments includes applying a liquid barrier around the home that kills or stops the termites. Baiting is used to destroy a termite infestation, by placing a poison treated cardboard or paper pellets to the termite’s mound, where it is consumed by them and brought back to their colony, where their excrement further distributes the poison. Also, fumigation involves pumping an odorless, colorless gas throughout the home, suffocating the termites. Children and pets are not harmed by the innovative poisons used to treat termite nests and infestations. The latest technology is the electro-gun which emits 90,000 volts of electricity into the nests of the dry-wood termites. The electrical current from the electro-gun enters their bodies, which is made up of 90% water.

Establishing your own termite treatment business is easier if you speak with other professionals in the business and to apply all that you’ve been taught, as well as to follow-up with the latest termite treatment innovations. Use the Internet, magazines, and newspapers to help advertise your business, as well as other methods to help improve your business without going over your budget.

Dealing with being fired or made redundant

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Some people look at their current job as a race. A race between quitting before the company gets a chance to fire, lay off, or downsizes the employee’s position. Being fired is no fun, particularly if you are like most people who depend on their job to eat, pay the bills, and take a two-week vacation every year. Losing a job often throws chaos into the life of an employee, whether it was justified or not. The question then becomes how to deal with the event.

First, accept the reality and take time to decompress. It is a stressful event and usually comes unexpectedly. People need time to put the brakes on and mentally prepare themselves to move forward. For this step, the time each person needs will be different, but any more time than a week is probably too long.

Next, pick up a pencil and paper and write down all of your positive accomplishments during your time with the company. This will be necessary for the job description section of the resume, but will also show you that even though you were fired, there are a lot of positives you can take away from your time there. Do not try to be picky with what you write down; you can make changes later.

What you do next should be obvious – update your resume. You will need to do this to search for a new job, and you can add your accomplishments from your previous job. Another reason not to wait too long before getting back on your feet is because from the day you got fired the clock began to run on how long you were unemployed. As many people have found out during the most recent economic downturn, the longer the time between your last job and your current job search, the less likely you are to be hired.

One of the most difficult things you will have to do is to stay positive, especially if you believe your firing was unjustified. You have the right to your feelings but the most important thing to do is to get employed again. That is the antidote for getting fired.

There are times when you see the train coming down the tracks, and the train has a “Fired!” sign on the front. One of these times is when you feel your position and job are redundant, when you see five other people doing the same job. Besides being bored, you are waiting for management to show you the door sooner than later. How should you deal with this situation?

Compared to the unexpected firing, this is a situation where you have time to prepare. Emotionally dealing with it is easier as long as you take immediate action. You are trying to win the “you can’t fire me, I quit” race. Follow the same preparation steps as discussed above when being fired. Update your resume and begin looking as soon as possible.

There are a couple of issues to consider before moving forward and leaving the company. First, are you sure the reality of the situation is not something you fear or imagine? Second, if you do begin looking for another job and your current employer discovers it, what will your response be? Finally, is your perception of the situation a result of actually wanting to leave the company and you are simply looking for an excuse to leave?

How to ask for a raise

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The raise. One of the most interesting, delicate, and potentially dangerous requests made by an employee during their stay with a company. There are as many ways to ask for a raise as there are individual relationships between an employee and their boss. What you need to know first is why you should ask for a raise.

Everyone is overworked and underpaid. So your request for a raise at a time when normal employee reviews are not scheduled needs to be based on your work performance and overall benefit to the company since your employment began. Having a good week or finding out someone who is doing the same job is making more than you is not a reason to ask for a raise. The basis for your request must be based solely on your merits.

First, be sure you have solid basics when personally evaluating yourself. Here are some common issues that are often overlooked during the self-evaluation process.

Were you on time every day? Leaping into your chair one second before you are scheduled to start working does not mean you are on time from the perspective of management. Whatever reasons there may be for you being late on occasion does not change the reality you were late.

Were you late coming back from lunches or meetings? A lot of people may be fine on being back from lunch on time, but being late from (or for) meetings can be considered the same as being late for work. If you are guilty of this business behavior, hit the pause button before asking for a raise.

Has your work performance exceeded the expectations of your manager? In other words, stop looking around and comparing yourself to other employees, since each employee has their role in the company. Your manager is the person who will be evaluating you during your time with the company, and the person you will have to convince that you qualify for the raise.

Do you have a good relationship with your manager? If not, you probably have to rethink the whole asking for a raise idea.

If you are satisfied with the basics, then you can move on to the approach – how to ask for the raise. You need to be prepared to make your case with facts that both you and your manager are aware of. These can be sales figures, problems resolved, e-mails from other departments giving you positive feedback on your performance, and even recognition that came directly from the manager. Be assertive but not arrogant. While your performance may be exceptional, and your manager recognizes it, the request for an unscheduled raise is not an obligation to the company. It is at their discretion.

Finally, address the request for a raise with a future orientation. This means that while your justification for asking is based on past and present performance, your argument is that you will justify getting the raise based on your future performance with the company at your present position. In other words, they are making an investment, not rewarding you for what you have done.

How to write your cover letter

Cover Letter

A cover letter is a brief introduction of yourself and often gives you the opportunity to express your interest in the position. Not all companies require or even allow a cover letter to be included with your resume. Be sure to check before attaching one to your email application or send it along by postal mail.

One common problem occurs when people write cover letters – they construct it as if it were a mini-resume. It is not. Think of a cover letter as an advertisement and the resume as the product connected to the ad. An advertisement tells you the advantages of buying the product, but only discusses the actual product a little.

There is no format to follow when constructing a cover letter. Some books and web sites will show sample cover letters that have been successful, but for our purposes following another person’s success formula is advised against. The reason? Our approach is that you are your own product, so you cannot be duplicated, nor can your cover letter.

However, there are some guidelines you should follow so it is connected to the resume in the mind of the reader. Like the resume, you should include the following information:

  • Your formal name, current address, city, state, and zip code
  • A contact telephone number
  • Adding the date you write the cover letter is optional, but recommended.

In writing the content of the cover letter, you should keep it short. Two, perhaps three, short paragraphs at the most. The employer wants to know why you are interested in the position and what you believe are your greatest strengths that you have to offer the company.

There are other reasons an employer may require a cover letter. One of the most common and less considered by the applicant is the employer is looking for the level of the applicant’s writing skills. For you, this means that you must carefully read, write, edit, rewrite, and review each sentence and paragraph of the cover letter before sending it. Positions that require writing reports, secretarial positions, and even some management positions will need to be especially careful of the language and grammar used in the cover letter.

Formal writing and language is essential in the cover letter content. Avoid slang phrases and colloquialisms, but write plainly and simply. Your ability to communicate in writing will also be evaluated, so be sure to say precisely what you mean to say.

As with providing false information on the resume, it is advised against having a friend or other person write your cover letter. Yes, there are resume writing agencies but the language contents of a resume are different from the cover letter. Should you get an interview, the interviewers will know quickly whether the language in the cover letter is yours or was written by someone else. If they believe there is a significant difference, they may continue the interview, but it is likely you have dropped out of serious consideration for the job.

How to write your resume

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In the first part we discussed filling out an application as the beginning of applying for a job. But most companies will expect you to have a resume that you can attach to an e-mail (or rarely, send by postal mail) that they can review before inviting you in for an interview.

A question a lot of job sites do not answer is just exactly what is a resume? The simplest way to look at a resume is a summary of your education and work experience that briefly tells a potential employer about what you know and what you can do. Remember from part one that finding a job is about your marketable skills. The resume is where you can list both your formal education and work experience.

The standard resume has a basic format. That format is written in a specific order.

  • Your formal name, current address, city, state, zip code
  • A contact telephone number
  • Formal education, the most recent school attended listed first
  • Verifiable work experience, the most recent job listed first

The only preparation you have to do before writing a standard resume is to be sure your dates of employment are correct and you confirm any graduation dates with the school. Usually the month and year format is enough, meaning you do not have to have the exact date you started and ended your jobs. You will have to be prepared to explain any gaps in your work history, such as being unable to work due to illness or deciding to go to school to acquire more skills.

When you list your formal education, be sure to include the name of the school, your major course of study, and the date you graduated. If you are still in school, leave out the graduation date and instead put the date you began your studies and the phrase “to current.” Including your grade point average (G.P.A.) is something not everyone agrees on. Unless you graduated with honors, the G.P.A. should not be included. Do not put any clubs or activities you were involved with in this section.

Your work experience, or employment history, is the last section of the standard resume. Here you will list the name of the company, your title (mail clerk, secretary, etc.), a brief job description, and the beginning and end dates of your employment. The job description should highlight the major responsibilities of your position. The specifics and details of your job duties will be discussed during the interview.

The total length of your resume will depend on how much education and work experience you have acquired. Do not decide on a fixed number of pages the resume should be. The more resumes you write, the more you will become comfortable with what is the right length for you.

The issue of putting false information on a resume needs to be mentioned. Choosing to make such a decision usually has a huge downside to it, mainly because most people cannot afford to lose a good paying job. More than 85 percent of all employers do some type of background check on potential hires, so there is a good chance the deception will be uncovered.

How to look for and win a job

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So you are wondering what new can be said about jobs, job searching, and the rest of it. The first thing I would like you to think about is how many different web sites you have to go to in order to find everything you need to know. You can also go the library, but you will probably find the same story. Here, we hope to tell you what you need to know – all in one place.

We will start out with the obvious – how to look for a job. It dies not matter whether you have a college degree or not, looking for a job is basically the same process.

Step one is to find out what your marketable skills are. Marketable is important here since your ability to repair retro 8-track players does not have much of a demand. So conduct an inventory and find out what you have that other people need. It might be mechanical skills or organizational skills, or teaching skills. Your skill set is what is marketable, coupled with a verifiable amount of experience.

The next step is to find out who is hiring and where. You can start with local employment agencies where you will fill out an application and probably some other paperwork. Some say you should start searching on the Internet, but that is true if you already have some experience with searching for a job. Stopping by a local employment agency will give you the chance to learn the basics and ask all the questions you want without feeling you should know more about the process.

The search process can then move to the Internet. That is where you can get your feet wet in the privacy of your own home and learn as you go. The fastest way to start is to take your favorite search engine and enter in a two part phrase – the type of job you are looking for and the city and state where you are looking. For example, “mail clerk, Los Angeles CA.” You can start clicking and reading the various job openings and descriptions in your area.

Once you find several jobs that are in your area, that you basically qualify for, and you are interested in, create a plan. You probably will not want to apply to all the jobs in the same day. One reason is that most companies do not allow you to just walk in and apply – an appointment is required. The second reason is that you will find out that finding work may be more tiring than the job itself. This is especially true if you are not having much success at getting hired immediately. One final note on planning is to make sure you know exactly where the company is located. Getting lost can be avoided simply by making a phone call to the company to verify their location. Ask for directions if you need to.

We will end this first section on interviewing for a job. The truth is, an entire book can be written on job interviewing, but as we said earlier, we will cover the basics.

The first basic is dress. Dress professionally but appropriately. If you wear a suit to apply at McDonalds, they may think you will leave for a higher paying job without warning. If you wear flip-flops to a secretarial position, you will very likely significantly hurt your chances of being hired.

When you are ready to leave the house, be sure you allow yourself enough time to get to the interview 15 – 20 minutes before the scheduled time. The reason is that you will have to fill out paperwork, such as an application and personal data form, which usually take between 15 and 20 minutes to complete. Even if you finish early, it will give you time to relax.

If this is your first job, you will probably interview with only one, maybe two people. If you have experience you may find yourself interviewing with many people, possibly with everyone in a room at the same time. Interviewing is really a natural process, so while most people tend to get nervous, simply and honestly answering the questions you are asked will be considered a successful interview.